Friday, January 2, 2009

A walk in the park

As a good start to 2009, we decided to take a walk in the Santa Monica Mountains yesterday afternoon. We live in the midst of the most wonderful scenery, yet only too often we forget to give ourselves the opportunity to appreciate it.

If we're making resolutions, spending more time walking in the mountains covers two areas of improvement - exercise and remembering to enjoy the beauty around us.

Red Rock Canyon Park is one of my favorite places to hike. We park at the intersection of Old Topanga Road and Red Rock Road, and walk along the road through a small residential neighborhood built along a creek. The houses are eclectic, rustic and funky compounds with quirky touches - signs, artwork, footbridges and treehouses.

The pavement ends and the road curves along the creek, as huge bulging sandstone boulders heave up behind the trees. The rocks are the same deep mauve-purple color as the unpaved road underfoot.

As the grade rises up, the road curves and suddenly you find out why the park is called Red Rock.

This photo is taken after having passed and turning back. The rock looms so high and massively above that it creates its own unique soundscape - as you walk beneath it, your voices echo back to you, suddenly crisp and live as though in a soundstage, a distinct change that surprises.

Past the rock, there's a parking lot and picnic area, and a private residence for the ranger and his family. Beyond this, an iron gate gives way onto a rocky fire road through the rest of the park.

The shapes and colors of the rocks are amazing. You can see the striated layers of sandstone and aggregate rock as it was built up over the ages, then heaved and tilted violently as the earth writhed ages ago.

Large round granite stones are birthed out of the aggregate like eggs, falling onto the pathway. It all looks tossed about and random - yet also static, with moss and lichen growing on the huge blocks of sandstone that lie tumbled in the creekbed.

This park has such a wide variety of wildflowers, unfolding as the spring season progresses. Reason enough for me to keep my resolution to walk more in the park in 2009.


shrink on the couch said...

Those are some gorgeous pictures.. and that trail looks so inviting.

M. Bouffant said...

I am bookmarking this, & draggging my lazy self over there by March!

How long is the trail?